July 1, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Rent Control Again: Is This Voted Needed?

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist

It was a head-scratcher the other day when the AIDS Healthcare Foundation submitted more than 1 million voter signatures aiming to place comprehensive rent control before Californians next fall, just two years after they rejected the same idea by a 20 percent margin.

But no one in politics today seems to heed what the voters want: Anti-abortion advocates keep losing as they try again and again to enact parental notification requirements for pregnant teenage girls who seek abortions. Bankruptcy judges and state regulators try hard to keep irresponsible utility companies and their monopolies afloat when the public and many elected officials would rather convert them to localized co-ops. And so on.

That’s also how it was last year when state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted what they billed as America’s toughest rent controls just one year after voters decisively nixed them.

Now comes the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, seeking even tougher controls than voters rejected in 2018 or what’s been state law since Jan. 1.

That new law limits rent increases to 5 percent per year, plus the local rate of inflation in locales where there previously was no rent control, while letting existing city rent control laws stand in places like Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Glendale, San Francisco and others that have had controls for years.

For what it’s worth, those controls have not ended the housing affordability crisis anywhere; some of the highest-priced rentals in America exist in Santa Monica and San Francisco, both of which have had strong controls for decades.

These are also among the densest areas in California, with scores of new apartment buildings rising in recent years to replace older, smaller ones. New construction – usually defined as less than 15 years old, but extending as far back as 1978 in some cities – is exempt from rent controls under most city laws, so it pays for developers to buy up older buildings, evict longtime tenants and build newer units where they can charge market rates, which keep climbing.

The new state law was designed partly to mitigate this and give tenants more stability by making evictions of paid-up renters more difficult, whether they are designed to build new units or merely to raise rents.

The main difference between the new law and the upcoming ballot proposition is that the initiative would end the practice of vacancy decontrol, where a state law passed in the 1990s now allows rents to rise to whatever the market will bear whenever a unit is vacated. The proposition would hold rents at the same limits even when a tenant leaves.

This stricture, claims the California Apartment Association, could drive many landlords out of the rental business. That was one of their main arguments against the losing 2018 Proposition 10, and most voters apparently agreed.

But vacancy decontrol and the lack of controls on newer buildings has put San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego all into the top 10 most expensive rental markets in America for the last 20 years.

So maybe there is justification for ending vacancy decontrol, if that could make housing more available to the millions of Californians who can’t afford to live where they like. Here’s what the affordability crisis means in real life: The average minimum-wage worker would have to put in 92 hours of labor merely to pay the monthly rent on an average one-bedroom California apartment. The situation is tighter than in any other state.

But compared to the new controls the state has already imposed over the wishes of its voters, the new initiative’s main change would be minimal.

In some ways, it’s a form of hectoring voters who believed they decided the matter in the last statewide election.

Of course, as abortion activists and others can attest, no matter is ever really decided permanently in California. The populace is too fluid, with millions moving into and out of the state each decade, to rule out fast and significant changes in public preferences. Which means rent control won’t be the last issue on which voters will get multiple chances to vote.     

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, go to www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Los Angeles City Attorney Says His Office Is Cracking Down on Illegal Fireworks

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Fines up to $1,000 for violaters, City Attorney says ​​Amid historically dry conditions brought on by California’s severe drought, Los...

LA City Council Approves $25 Per Hour Wage Hike for Certain Healthcare Workers

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Law would apply only to workers at privately owned facilities By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles City Council this week approved...

Inside CD-11 2022: ‘Moderate Middle’ Could Be the Deciding Factor in Darling/Park Contest for LA City Council!

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

The Allison Holdorff-Polhill, Mike Newhouse vote total combines for 10,500 votes or nearly 16% of the vote up for grabs...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Legendary New Orleans Fried Chicken Restaurant Opening in Venice

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Willie Mae Seaton coming to Venice by end of summer Venerable New Orleans icon Willie Mae Seaton is coming to...

Venice Steakhouse Offering Summer Grill Kits

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

American Beauty’s grill kits available through Labor Day Bring the steakhouse to the barbeque with grill kits from a popular...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Venice Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

The Yo! Venice Interview: Erin Darling For City Council

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

First-place finisher & Venice local Erin Darling talks frankly with Yo! Venice about, homelessness, climate change and the upcoming runoff...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...

Former LAX Cargo Handler Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing Four Gold Bars

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Marlon Moody sentenced to one year in federal prison in addition to $7.5K fine  A former cargo handling company employee...

Jetpack Mystery Object Spotted Flying By Pilot Near LAX: YO! Venice Show – June 27th, 2022

June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Jetpack Mystery Object Spotted Flying By Pilot Near LAX* L.A City Council...

Site Cleared for Venice Affordable Housing Development on Lincoln

June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022

Prior property demolished at 2467-2472 Lincoln Boulevard By Dolores Quintana Venice Community Housing Corp. has begun construction of a new...

Construction Begins for 50-Unit Palms Development

June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022

Six-story development underway near the intersection of National and Canfield By Dolores Quintana Helio has begun construction on a new...